Help From the USPS
The USPS offers much assistance for designing mail. Quick Service Guides summarize the requirements from the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), two templates make it easy to determine aspect ratio and mail category (letter or flat), and a Mailpiece Design Analyst (MDA) is available to answer questions and determine the extent to which a mail piece meets design requirements.
Download PDFs of Quick Service Guide 201, 201b, 301, 301b, 602, 810, 811, and 820 from the Postal Explorer web site http://pe.usps.com/text/qsg300/q000.htm.
Order Notice 67, Automation Template and Notice 3-A, Letter-size Mail Dimensional Standards Template from the business center that services your ZIP code or from your MDA. Find your MDA at http://pe.usps.gov/mpdesign/mpdfr_mda_lookup.asp.
Train Your Staff
Train your CSRs to ask customers at job intake whether postage savings should be considered when designing the mail piece. If so, be sure the CSR conveys that information to the graphic designer. Train your graphic designer in the physical characteristics of mail pieces, address panel requirements, and the format for indicia.
Take these steps, and you’ll earn the best postage rates for your customers and the gratitude of the bulk mail acceptance clerk.
Nancy DeDiemar is the president of Printing Resources of Southern California, a quick print shop in Upland, CA, offering printing, copying, electronic prepress, and mailing services. Nancy is the co-publisher of Printips (www.printips.com), a newsletter subscription service for printers. Contact her at Nancy@printingresources.com.